When I’m not weeping for humanity courtesy of the comments posted there, the majority of my time on YouTube is spent perusing various music uploads to share with those who are unfamiliar. As much as the sound quality of some of these uploads makes me want to vomit out of my ear holes, they’re at least useful for a quick and dirty introduction to an artist’s work. Now, in an agreement between YouTube and independent label licensing agency Merlin — representing labels such as Merge, Warp, Sub Pop, Domino, and Beggars Group (which owns or distributes 4AD, Rough Trade, Matador, and XL) — will be able to receive royalties whenever official music videos or user-generated videos featuring their music are played on the site.
Additionally, speaking with Billboard, Merlin CEO Charles Caldas points out how the deal (the exact terms of which have yet to be revealed) will also allow labels to create their own channels and “build a premium monetization model.” My brain takes a hiatus whenever I hear or read financial jargon mixed with music-related subjects, but I’m going to assume that building a “premium monetization model” essentially means that, to a degree, labels can work out their own structure for earning money via the site.
Billboard also highlights the relevant statistic that the market share of Merlin member labels currently stands at 10%, roughly one-third of all independently-owned “repertoire,” as they put it. So depending on which labels choose to participate, and what the exact terms of the deal are, this could be a pretty decent boon for the pockets of those who help to release the albums that we all (well, at least those who read TMT) know and love. Now if we can only figure out a way to pay users who upload videos of their cute little cats doing hilarious things. They need to be rewarded too.
• Merlin: http://www.merlinnetwork.org